Clijsters Closes on No. 1; Winners & Losers; ATP/WTA Previews
San Jose, Calif, USA
Surface: indoor hard
Seeds: Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Gael “Force” Monfils, Sam Querrey, Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, Denis Istomin, Benjamin Becker, Lleyton Hewitt, Kei Nishikori
Floaters: “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, Juan Martin Del Potro, James Blake, Milos Raonic
Notes: Top-seeded Hot Sauce opens against American wildcard Rajeev Ram, to face the winner of Karlovic vs. Ryan Sweeting…Jamaican-turned-German Dustin Brown starts against “The” Donald Young, and (4) Malisse vs. Raonic…Verdasco is 5-0 career in San Jose, last year beating Andy Roddick in the final…Verdasco (2010) and Hewitt (2002) only returning champions in the field…No player has ever won three straight San Jose titles, but winning two in a row: Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Mark Philippoussis, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe.
ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Surface: indoor hard
Seeds: Robin Soderling, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, Mikhail Youzhny, Ivan Ljubicic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Floaters: Ernests Gulbis, Jarkko Nieminen, Marin Cilic, Nikolay Davydenko, Michael Llodra, Marcos Baghdatis
Notes: Loaded field with some tough starts: (3) Ferrer vs. Nieminen, Davydenko vs. Llodra (winner to face (8) Tsonga), (2) Murray vs. Baghdatis…weird to see Cilic and Davydenko unseeded…Seeds Berdych and Melzer have losing career records in Rotterdam…Last year Soderling beat Youzhny in the final…Returning champs in the field are Soderling (2010), Murray (2009), Llodra (2008), and Youzhny (2007).
Costa do Sauipe, Brazil
Seeds: Nicolas Almagro, Al Montanes, Thomaz Bellucci, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Juan Ignacio Chela, Tommy Robredo, Potito Starace, Victor Hanescu
Floaters: Pablo Cuevas, Fabio Fognini
Notes: Openers of note include (7) Starace vs. Cuevas, (6) Tommy Robredo vs. Fognini…The Brazilian No. 1 Bellucci looks to be crowned the first homegrown champ in Costa do Sauipe since Gustavo Kuerten in 2004…No. 2 seed Montanes is 4-7 career at the event…Last year’s champ Juan Carlos Ferrero pulled, still recovering from knee and wrist surgeries…Returning champs in the field are Robredo (2009) and Almagro (2008).
Open GDF Suez
Surface: indoor hard
Seeds: Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova, Kaia Kanepi, Petra Kvitova, Nadia Petrova, Andrea Petkovic, Yanina Wickmayer, Dominika Cibulkova
Floaters: Alize Cornet, Elena Vesnina, Bathanie Mattek-Sands, Lucie Safarova
Notes: Clijsters and Sharapova receive first-round byes…Sharapova will start against the winner of Mattek-Sands and Carlo Suarez Navarro…Elena Dementieva beat Safarova in last year’s final…Former champs in the field are Petrova (2007) and Clijsters (2004).
PTT Pattaya Open
Pattaya City, Thailand
Seeds: Vera Zvonareva, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Kirilenko, Daniela Hantuchova, Roberta Vinci, Peng Shuai, Jie Zheng, Sara Errani
Floaters: Tamira Paszek
Notes: Wildcards went to tongue twisters Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, Nicha Lertpitaksinchai, Nudnida Luangnam…Zvonareva opens against Paszek…Zvonareva (2010-09) is the only returning champ in the field.
Robredo Edges Giraldo for ATP Santiago Title
Spaniard Tommy Robredo outlasted Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(5) in the final of the Movistar Open final for his first title in two years.
“Ten is a very nice number and it feels good to lift the trophy again,” said Robredo on winning his 10th career title. Giraldo served for the match at 5-3 in the third but could not close.
Giraldo was looking to become the first Colombian to win an ATP title since 1995 when Mauricio Hadad won in Bermuda. “I think my lack of experience played a part at that time,” said Giraldo on serving for the match. “I maybe got a bit tense and it went against me.”
Anderson Wins 1st Title on Home Turf in South Africa
No. 4 seed Kevin Anderson won his first career title in his home country of South Africa, defeating India’s Somdev Devvarman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the SA Tennis Open in Johannesburg.
“Winning it here in South Africa is a great experience and memory I’ll have for the rest of my life,” Anderson said. “I’m just really thankful that I was able to come out and play here.”
The 24-year-old Anderson admitted that a lengthy rain delay in the first set helped to settle his nerves. “I think the rain played a little part in helping me re-focus and re-set and I really felt I came out there a different person. Even though I lost the first set, I was able to turn things around and play really good in the second and third sets.”
Dodig Wins Career-first ATP Title in Zagreb, Croatia
Ivan Dodig made for the third straight Croat champion in Zagreb, winning his first career title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Michael Berrer in Sunday’s final in Croatia.
The 26-year-old Dodig also upset No. 2 seed Ivan Ljubicic and No. 3 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez during the week. “This is the best thing that can happen to a player — to play at home in front of your own crowd and win your first title,” he said. “I’m really happy and enjoying the moment.”
Berrer finished runner-up in the Zagreb final for the second year in a row, last year losing to Marin Cilic. “I don’t think I played that good today — it was probably the worst match I played all week. But he played at a good level. He was serving like his mentor Goran [Ivanisevic].”
FED CUP RESULTS — FIRST ROUND
Russia d. France 3-2
Russia came back from an 0-2 match deficit for the first time in its Fed Cup history on Sunday when Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Dinara Safina cliched the deciding doubles over France’s Julie Coin and Alize Cornet 7-6(4), 6-0. Cornet beat Svetlana Kuznetsova and Virginie Razzano topped Maria Sharapova to put France up 2-0 after the first day. Russia evened the match in the Sunday singles when Pavlyuchenkova beat Cornet from a set down, and Kuznetsova beat Razzano.
Belgium d. U.S. 4-1
Belgium blanked the U.S. 3-0 en route to a 4-1 win, with Kim Clijsters blasting the opposition, and America’s Melanie Oudin getting blasted in both her singles. On Saturday play opened with Belgian Yanina Wickmayer beating Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1 7-6(6), before Clijsters beat Oudin 6-0 6-4. On Sunday Clijsters was made to work before topping Mattek-Sands 6-7(10), 6-2 6-1. In the dead-rubber singles Wickmayer beat Oudin 6-2, 6-0, and the U.S. won the dead-rubber doubles.
Italy d. Australia 4-1
Sam Stosur came up short in two heartbreaking three-setters as Italy advanced into the Fed Cup semifinals over Australia. Jarmila Groth put Australia on the board first with a three-set win over Francesca Schiavone, then Flavia Pennetta tied it at 1-1 with a three-set win over Stosur. Schiavone beat Stosur in three to begin Sunday play, then Pennetta clinched it by beating Groth in straight sets.
Czech Republic d. Slovak Republic 3-2
The Czechs rolled the Slovaks 3-0 in live matches en route to a final 3-2 tally to advance into the Fed Cup semifinals. Lucie Safarova beat Daniela Hantuchova, and Petra Kvitova beat Dominika Cibulkova, both in straight sets. On Sunday Kvitova clinched it, beating Hantuchova.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
PLAYERS FLOOD OZ WITH MONEY – The ATP World Tour and WTA joined forces to donate more than $50,000 to Queensland flood relief efforts, donating $10 for each ace hit by their respective players in singles and doubles competition at the Brisbane International, Medibank International Sydney and Australian Open. The donation is in addition to individual contributions by Sam Stosur, who donated $100 for each ace she served in Brisbane, Sydney and the Australian Open; Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who gave 5% of her prize money from Hobart and the Australian Open; and Andy Roddick, who donated over $10,000 ($200 for each ace he hit in Brisbane). Players also donated their time to participate in the sport’s biggest fundraising effort in January on the eve of the Australian Open, the Rally For Relief at Melbourne Park, which raised more than $1.5 million for flood relief. Beginning in December 2010, flooding in Queensland killed 35 people, affected 70 towns and more than 200,000 people, caused $1 billion damage and is projected to reduce Australia’s GDP by $30 billion.
For the first time since the inception of the WTA rankings in 1975, the Top 10 players last week hailed from 10 different countries. They are Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), Kim Clijsters (BEL), Vera Zvonareva (RUS), Francesca Schiavone (ITA), Sam Stosur (AUS), Venus Williams (USA), Na Li (CHN), Jelena Jankovic (SRB), Victoria Azarenka (BLR), Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), and Shahar Peer (ISR)…World No. 1 Rafael Nadal reportedly sustained a muscle tear in his leg during the Aussie Open and is out of action at least 10 days…Olympus will remain a reluctant official sponsor of the US Open for 2011 and the US Open Series of events as part of a settlement of a USTA lawsuit after the camera company tried to bail early from their contract. The USTA had sued Olympus for $11.65 million after the company tried to bail on their 2011 contract…Serena Williams hasn’t played competitive tennis since July 2010 after cutting her foot, but she is scheduled to make her 2011 debut on March 8 — in an exhibition match. The exhibition in Eugene, Ore., includes Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova, called the “Nike Clash of Champions.” Williams is scheduled to play a set against Sharapova and a mixed-doubles set…Kim Clijsters will regain No. 1 this week if she reaches the semifinals in Paris.
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